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Board gets budget numbers
• The second open meeting allowing public comment on the Polk School District's FY 2018 budget will be held on Tuesday.

Polk School District will be looking to keep their budget balanced at $64 million in revenue and expenses for the coming year, which includes a $2 million fund balance left over for the year after teachers are paid and the costs of keeping the schools opened are all tallied up.

Board members got a look at the first round of numbers submitted by finance director Tammy McDonald during the May work session on Tuesday night, May 2, with expenses slightly less for the coming year.

This year's budget includes $13 million in local tax revenue and $70,000 from other local sources, with a majority of the annual revenue coming from more than $46 million in money from the state. Most of that money will go toward funding teacher salaries and insurance, which with 2 percent raises tallied in was set at just over $45 million for the year.

The rest of the $17 million the school board could approve after a second public meeting held later this month includes $4 million for the school nutrition program, and $2 million in debt service. Most of the other costs incurred related to maintenance, transportation, general and school administration, central support, pupil services, media-related expenses and transfers of funds for programs.

In the FY 2018 budget, $1.6 million of the $5 million the school board approved to use to finish the cost of the College and Career Academy building at Cedartown High School earlier in the year is also being paid back to the board.

After all the figures are tallied up and balanced, Polk School District will have an ending balance of $2.1 million left in the bank when they finish up the coming budget year.

Board member Hal Floyd asked why the school system looked to be spending less this coming fiscal year than it did in FY 2017, and one of the reasons McDonald said had to do with the College and Career Academy construction payment being accounted for on the current fiscal year's budget.

Though less money is available in the general fund balance to use in case of shortfalls in the coming year, repayments from SPLOST revenues coming in that aren't being used to repay bonds will go toward paying back the system for the money spent out of the fund balance for construction costs.

One line item set at zero in this year's budget is construction services, since no new building projects are expected for the coming year.

By comparison, the FY 2018 numbers are slightly down. Revenue is $2 million less than it was during the current budget year, and close to $4 million less in expenditures.

The projected ending balance is also $3.1 million less than it was for the current budget year as well.

Board members had no other comments on the budget during the work session on Tuesday night.

Public comments will be heard during the next open meeting on the budget on May 16, with the tentative budget set to be passed that night. A final decision on the FY 2018 figures is expected on June 13.

The board won't be meeting for their May 9 regular session, combining both sessions into one for the month. Board members will also be gathering for their retreat on May 19.


Locals get look at GEO

If there is one science that is crucial to contemporary life above all others, it's chemistry.

And one plant in Cedartown has been in one way or another involved in providing industries and later on communities the chemistry of making life in modern society continue forward without hiccups played host last week to local industry leaders for the latest Manufacturer's Roundtable.

GEO Specialty Chemicals has been a number of different businesses over the years, but one thing hasn't changed: they are a leader in large scale chemical production.

Mike Hunter, the plant manager for GEO Specialty Chemicals, said that his plant mainly focuses on producing items for targeted uses, like providing chemicals used in oil production or the combinations of molecules that help keep drinking water safe for cities across the country.

"We produce lots of specialty chemicals, and have the most diverse product line here in Cedartown," he said. "We produce 150 different products in at least 60 different chemistries."

The plant first opened in the early 1900s as Josephine Mills, and was first part of several operations that provided textiles for the Cedartown Cotton Company. Later the mill began it's life in chemical processing in making dyes for the textile industry, and also has been remembered as Diamond Shamrock and Henkel.

GEO has owned the plant for the past 20 years. It's one of the oldest plants in Polk County still operating continuously.

Henkel, Hunter said, put more than $30 million in the plant in the early 1990s and without it "we wouldn't have a viable facility."

"They put a lot of money into the infrastructure of the building and the utilities," he said. "Without that we wouldn't be here today."

It has changed hands and names over the years, but these days GEO Specialty Chemicals mission is to make products for the variety of markets, mainly on order for companies around the globe.

Hunter said that much of the volume of the company goes into supplying those who make construction products, like plasters and drywall in the form of dispersants.

Everything else from textiles, water treatment, oil well drilling and production, mining, and others also are produced locally, Hunter said.

Other divisions of the company also are involved in plants across the country spreading from Houston, Texas up to Pennsylvania, and the company's largest plant in the United Kingdom. A majority of those are involved in production of water treatment chemicals and are only manned by a few people at a time, Hunter explained.

Hunter said the plant here in Cedartown is also home to GEO Specialty Chemical's IT department headed up by Thomas Clifton, who also took part in the roundtable.

"We've got about 80 acres here, and a lot of room to expand," he said. "We still have our ball fields out there as well where people practice baseball, softball, football and a lot more now soccer."

It's not pretty work, and is a plant mainly dominated by tanks that hold chemicals, or are used to mix and process chemicals, or that are backup fuel for boilers at the plant.

Annually, the company makes millions of pounds of chemicals used in other processes for end products. They will likely make in excess of 90 million in dispersants this year, mostly sold in bulk, Hunter said.

Most of it is batch chemistry, made in glass-lined pressure vessels — think a giant thermos lined with glass at 4,000 gallons — that is made around the clock in four shifts daily.

The average employment time at GEO is 17 years, with a number of members of the staff at the plant with much more time at the plant than the current owners have held the deed.

"We have one lady who a few months ago retired just short of 50 years," he said. "About six months prior to that we had a guy who hit 50 years. And I've still got another couple of guys like that."

Attendees to the roundtable also got a tour of the plant and saw workers in action ensuring nothing bubbles over or blows in the process of the large scale chemistry happening at GEO.

Kelley provides legislative update

Along with a chance to sit down during the quarterly round table meeting and hear from Hunter about his business, industry leaders also got to hear from State Rep. Trey Kelley about what's happened under the Gold Dome during the past legislative session.

Kelley said that he was happy with bill signings like the latest update to the Campus Carry bill introduced and passed by the legislature this year with changes that would allow Gov. Nathan Deal to sign it, after he rejected it in 2016 in a different form.

Though it was among one of the many bills that passed through the legislature that Kelley talked about from the 2017 session that ended in March — from failed attempts to update adoption laws to passage of a autonomous vehicle bill that brings all parties to the table for a clear plan being mirrored by other states.

There were two items of big interest to local industry leaders, one which could potentially be a problem for those trying to sort out fiscal year budgeting the coming months: health care.

Kelley said that if needed, the state legislature might have to reconvene in the summer if action is taken up by the U.S. Senate on an Obamacare repeal-and-replace law passed by the House of Representatives after the meeting on May 4.

If the bill makes it through the senate and becomes law in the coming months, Kelley said it will require legislators to go back to work to figure out their part of handling Medicaid funds, whether in block grants or on a single-payer basis.

"Depending on when their start date is, that is something we could be doing soon," he said. "I'm encouraged to see them taking steps to correct so many of the problems that Obamacare had. I'm a big fan of the repeal and replace model. But one thing I'm discouraged by in the current version that punishes states that didn't expand Medicaid. Overwhelmingly our constituents told us at the state level they didn't want us to expand Medicaid, and we thought it was the right thing to do. Unfortunately one of the provisions in the replacement right now is punishing states like Georgia by giving us lower Medicaid reimbursement rates, and lower dollars that will flow down to our state."

It was certainly one area that Kelley said he felt should be addressed when the Senate takes up the bill.

DAPC President Missy Kendrick also asked about what the state is planning to do to help with the broadband situation in rural counties.

Kelley talked about industry-led solutions to the issue, like micro cell towers that can be installed on top of utility poles and provide higher than average speed access reliably with wireless signals, but that he didn't foresee expansion of fiber optics into rural areas due to the costs.

"Our telecommunications companies are going to recognize the value, and I think they are trying to find solutions that aren't so fiber-intensive," he said.


Relay for Life celebrates local cancer survivors

New logo coming for the City of Cedartown

A new logo and redesigned website are coming for the City of Cedartown this summer, but local residents are going to have to wait before getting to see the updated looks.

Public Information Officer Aimee Madden presented two potential candidates for the new logo during the Cedartown city commission's work session on May 1.

She said the two designs — one featuring a clock for the 'o' in Cedartown, the other a tree in the 'a'— are not meant to replace Cedartown's seal, which has been used as the main emblem for the city for years.

"The one that we have now is not a logo, it's a seal," she said. "A seal is one of those marks that you use to officially declare something, putting it on stationery or a proclamation or the like. And there's nothing wrong with it now. It's just not appropriate for everyday use."

The seal will continued to be used for official purposes, while the new logo which is to be revealed in June along with the new website will slowly be replacing the seal on the sides of city vehicles and onto a variety of products like pens and t-shirts in the near future.

Along with a presentation on the purpose of logos, Madden detailed what other cities in Georgia have done over the past years with coming up with new designs.

Cities like Conyers spent $20,000 for a new logo that she showed as an example of what Cedartown hoped to avoid in the process of creating a new logo. It is a giant C with multiple smaller letter c's in the background of the larger.

Covington was another example of what to avoid. She said their new logo was the result of what happens when designed by committee, having gone through 200 concepts before reaching a final decision on the multi-colored line drawings of a tree, the city's skyline and a historic house.

A logo for the city of Dunwoody, which resembled the Walmart logo, cost the local government there $109,000, Madden said.

She did the work inhouse and avoided large fees on the project by utilizing word clouds already put together following surveys done in the community and organized by her husband and current board chair for the Chamber of Commerce, Britt Madden Jr.

"The cool thing about the difference too between logos and seals is that seals are something you don't change, while logos can kind of evolve," she said. "So in the next 10 years, we'll talk about this again."

Examples of good designs she showed off included the cities of Griffin here in Georgia, and the city of Colorado Springs in Colorado in recent logo redesigns.

"Really it's taken a while for governments to get on board with this because we've used the seals for so long, but it's difficult to use when marketing in the community," Madden said.

Madden sought not only a final selection between the two logo — which was decided but is being kept under wraps until June when the new website redesign is revealed — but also a symbolic resolution from the board showing their support for the new artwork.

She said the new website has been simplified to help local residents navigate the pages easier and find information faster. It's in the final stages of work and testing before it goes live to the public.


AREA CALENDAR OF EVENTS

The 2017 Kids Fishing Rodeo for youth 15 and younger is coming up next month on June 10, 2017 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Kenview Farms in Rockmart. Hourly drawings will be held for door prizes, plus free refreshments and t-shirts for the first 500 kids. 1 rod per child, no minnows allowed. There's an 8 fish limit per child. Find and like the event on Facebook listed as Polk County Kid's Fishing Rodeo.

The Rockmart Farmers Market begins their summer and fall schedule this week with extended hours. Check out the market in downtown Rock mart behind the Rock mart History Museum and Southcrest Bank on Thursdays from 2 to 6 p.m. from now through Thanksgiving. Visit the Rockmart Farmers Market website at Rockmartfarmersmarket.com for more information.

The next West Georgia Spay/Neuter Clinic is coming to the Cedartown-Polk County Humane Society on May 17 Head over to the organization's office at 608 Adamson Road, Cedartown on Fridays from 4 to 7 p.m. or Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. to fill out an admission and prepay for the surgery. Fore more information call 678-361-7304.

Signups are coming up for the Cedartown High School varsity competition cheer team's annual clinic in June. Registration is May 22 from 5 to 8 p.m. at Cedartown High School in the girl's field house. Cost is $40 per child. Clinic dates this year are June 5 through June 7 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. daily. Call the school at 770-748-0490 or e-mail btillery@polk.k12.ga.us for more information.

The next spaghetti dinner at American Legion Post 12 will be Wednesday May 17. Spaghetti, meatballs, garlic toast and salad for $5, all you can eat. Serving from 5 to 7 p.m. Trivia starts at 6 p.m. Bring your friends and come join the fun. All profits from the monthly dinners are used for veterans and children's projects.

The Revival on the River is coming to Rockmart's Seaborn Jones Park on May 19 through May 21, starting on Friday from 5 to 9 p.m., and continuing Saturday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sunday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Find out more information and look for an upcoming itinerary at www.facebook.com/Revival-on-the-River.

The Rockmart High School FBLA is hosting a 5K Fun Run/Walk on May 20, 2017. Color stations with pink, blue, and purple powder will be set up along the route. Proceeds to benefit the March of Dimes. Email Janet Dover at jdover@polk.k12.ga.us for more information.

The final night of Victory Baptist Church's Spring Revival starts at 7 p.m. today. Evangelist Bob Pitman will be providing the message. Check out vbcrockmart.com for more information, or call 678-685-4570.

A grand opening for the Boaz Ministry in Rockmart's new food bank is coming up on May 27 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Groceries, children's bags, bibles, lunch and festivities will be free to those who want to participate. The new food bank located at 708 W. Elm St., Rockmart, will be open in June on Thursdays from 5 to 7 p.m. No fee is required or donations accepted to obtain food assistance. All that will be required is a photo ID.

A Memorial Day Service will be held at noon at Center Baptist Church in Felton on Memorial Day, May 29 and the veterans of Felton will be providing refreshments after a dedication service at the church. Turn off of Highway 27 South onto Felton-Rockmart Road to find the church. For information, contact Mark Hanson at 404-859-2096.

Fourth Friday is coming up for the summer in Cedartown! Check out the first concert featuring Bennie Gray and the Trailer Park Cowboys on May 26 to open up the series. Billed as more country than western and more roll than rock, Bennie Gray and the Trailer Park Cowboys are a local favorite. Check out the Fourth Friday car show, get food and drinks, and more as the car show begins at 5:30 p.m., and music at 7 p.m. Go to fourthfridaycedartown.com for a full lineup for the summer and more.

The Church of God of the Union Assembly, 32 Prospect Road, Rockmart, is encouraging members of the community to join them for praise and worship each Sunday and Wednesday. Praise and youth services are held at 7 p.m. on Wednesday nights, and services start at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday following Sunday School at 9:45 a.m. Call Pastor Jesse Starnes at 678-757-4572 for more information.

The Polk County Beekeepers meets the first Saturday of each month 10a-Noon at the Cedartown Library 245 East Ave. The next meeting is on June 1. Whether you are an experienced beekeeper, new beekeeper or want to learn all are welcome. For more information email polkcountybeekeepers@gmail.com or visit tinyurl.com/polkbees.

Signups are underway now for the Cedartown Performing Arts Center Lion King Summer Camp, taking place on July 17-21, July 24-28. Cost is $150 for the full 10 days of camp. Contact the CPAC at cedartownshows.com or call 770-748-4168.

The Polk County Extension Service's annual twice-weekly vegetable market will begin this year on June 27. They will have fresh veggies and fruits on hand from vendors on Tuesdays and Fridays from 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. Call the extension office at 770-749-2142 for more information or to learn how to participate.

A Homecoming celebration is being held at Bellview Baptist Church on May 21, which will include the Gospel Bluegrass Band and Scarlet Wool. The service begins at 10:30 a.m. and a fellowship meal is set to follow in the activity building after the service. Call 770-684-3941 for more information.

Cedartown Supper Club every second and fourth Tuesday of the month at 6:30 p.m. Held at 71 Woodall Rd. Seventh-day Adventist Church. Enjoy a vegetarian supper and participate in a lecture on healthy, happy living. Free and for all ages. Each evening provides a different menu and lecture topic. For more information call 678-901-9184.

The Northwest Georgia Regional Commission's area agency on aging will hold its quarterly meeting on Tuesday, may 23, 2017 at the Thornton Recreation Center, 102 North Floyd Park Road, Rome, GA 30165 (across from Armuchee High School on Hwy 27 north). The meeting will begin at 10:00 am. The meeting is open to the public.

The Aragon School Reunion is coming up on May 20 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Tom Pittman Recreation Complex in Aragon. Former Aragon School alumni are encouraged to come attend and share old memories and meet with friends, take a tour of the Aragon Historical Society museum, and bring old photos to share. Contact Sadie Pittman for more information at 770-684-7416.

Victory Baptist Church's Bread of Life Food Pantry is now open to help those in need. Preassembled bags of groceries will be handed out to those in need free of charge (ID required). There's a limit of 1 bag per person per week. Regular hours of operation for the pantry will be Mondays, 1 to 3 p.m., Tuesdays, 5 to 7 p.m. and Thursdays, 8 to 10 a.m.

Aragon Children's Day is coming up on June 3 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Aragon Mill Pond. Fishing, games, goat hunt, prizes, food and more will be part of the day. Everyone is welcome, but activities are planned for youth 16 and under. Sponsored by the City of Aragon, area merchants and Davitte Lodge No. 513.

Interested in becoming a Foster or Adoptive Parent? Open your heart to a child in need and find out how you can help. Join others who seek the love of a child every second Tuesday night of each month at 6 p.m. at Polk Co. Department of Family and Children Services office, located at 100 County Loop Rd. in Cedartown. Information Sessions are held to explain what is required to become a foster or adoptive parent in the state of Georgia. For more information please call Robin Forston at 404-895-6517 or e-mail robin.forston@dhs.ga.gov or call 1-877-210-KIDS. Visit http://www.fostergeorgia.com for more information.

On May 27, the 5th annual May Celebration honoring all veterans and military will be taking place at 7290 County Road 16 in Centre. The Patriotic program and entertainment includes a barbecue lunch, car and tractor show and more. There's also a drawing for a 12-gauge shotgun and $500 in cash. Vets and active duty military personnel eat free. Sponsored by McCord's Crossroads Homemakers and American Auctioneers. Call 706-767-1612 for more information.

Join the Polk County Chamber of Commerce as the board wraps up its new members contest on June 1 for a new member cookout in which the organization will announce the winners of the New Member challenge. Check out polkgeorgia.com for more information.

Rivers of Living Water is hosting its 8th Annual "Your Best" talent show. The talent show will have two categories: younger children (ages 5-11) and older kids (ages 12-17). The winner will receive a trophy. Auditions for the talent show will be held on the following Saturdays: May 20 and June 3, 2017. The auditions will be at Rivers of Living Water from 1 to 2 p.m. The "Your Best" talent show will be Saturday June 24, 2017 at Rivers of Living Water at 5 p.m. There will be a $100 drawing at the talent show. Admission for the talent show is $10. For more information please contact Courtney Ripoll at 770-689-7838.

Join Paul Craighead at the Rockmart Cultural Arts Center gallery for weekly pottery classes. They are held Tuesday and Wednesdays from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. for $15 each, and $12 for a Thursday class from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Materials are included in the cost of the classes. Call Paul Craighead at 770-843-5302 with questions. Registration open at the beginning of classes.

The May 13, 2017 meeting of the Georgia Chapter of the Trail of Tears Association (GA TOTA) will be held at 10:30 am at the Bartow County Library in Cartersville, Georgia. The speaker will be longtime GA TOTA member and former educator Wanda Patterson. meetings are free and open to the public. For further information about the May meeting, contact Tony Harris at harris7627@bellsouth.net.

Celebrate Recovery continues to meet in the First Baptist Church of Rockmart, 311 E. Elm St., Monday nights with dinner at 6 p.m. A large group gathers at 7 p.m. and small share group at 8 p.m.

Victory Baptist Church will be hosting their annual Stockings of Love Christmas in July event on Saturday, July 22, 2017. Visit their website at www.vbcrockmart.com for more information.

The Alzheimer's Association Caregiver Support Group in Polk meets the first Monday of each month at First Baptist Church of Rockmart, 311 E. Elm St. The facilitator is April Williams. For more information call 770-546-5188.

Lutheran Services of Georgia's Heritage Adoption Program partners with DFCS to find Forever Families for children waiting in Georgia's foster care system. Information Sessions are held on the 3rd Thursday of every month at 6:00pm at the Rome Office, located at 336 Broad St, Suite 200. Individual sessions may be scheduled to accommodate families, as needed. For more information, contact aweaver@lsga.org or call 706-506-0649.

The Sit N' Stitch craft group meets each Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall at Rockmart First United Methodist Church, 135 West Church St., Rockmart, Ga., 30153. All crafters are welcome to come and work on your own projects or help out with various local mission projects, as they become needed. Bring a sack lunch or just come when you want and leave as you need to. Contact Madeline Brown at 678-435-5032 for more information.

Need to get an item onto the Area Calendar of Events? Email kmyrick@npco.com today! All items must be in at least two weeks before the event to appear in the Standard Journal on time.